Open Your Eyes to the World of Personal Fitness Gadgets
With our world becoming more and more dependent on technology, even our fitness routines are turning digital. Whether you’re looking for a typical activity tracker or one with a GPS, heart rate monitor, or built-in personal trainer (yes, they exist), your options are seemingly endless. And the gadgets only get more elaborate from there. Wristbands that track the UV index, digital forks that tell you when to eat slower, water bottles that alert you when you should be drinking more…the health and wellness industry is having a field day in the wake of society’s spike in interest in personal fitness. This blog includes a sample of some of the more practical devices you can use to help stay on top of your fitness routine, or even motivate you to start a new one!
If you’re looking for an all-purpose fitness tracker, this is a great option. At $179.99, this device measures steps, distance, and calories burned, as well as your sleep quality. It even measures your heart rate, which is a feature that I’ve found definitely raises the price among fitness trackers. Its design is simple, it has a comfortable rubber strap, and its small OLED display even has caller ID. It’s also very compatible with other applications, so recording food intake and specific exercises is very simple. You can set personal goals, and at any point in the day, you can check your FitBit app and take a look at your progress! I’ve personally tried out another model of FitBit tracker and I have to say, they really are pretty motivating. This device is labelled as “splash proof”, but you shouldn’t wear it in the shower or while swimming.
If you’re in the market for less expensive options from FitBit that just provide the basics, there are some available from just $69.99.
The Jawbone Up3 sounds like it can do pretty much everything the Charge HR can do, but with more of a personal twist. It includes something called Smart Coach, which gives you notifications throughout the day about your goals, your heart health, and general tips. Also, the Jawbone Up3 has more food-focused features: it has its own food database and barcode scanner, instead of having to manually go through a third-party app to log your food intake. This tracker doesn’t have an OLED display, however, which means no built-in watch or caller ID, and it only measures your resting heart rate once a day. It’s also labelled as splash proof so you can’t go swimming in it, but you can wear it in the shower. It goes for slightly more than the Charge HR, at $199.99.
Jawbone also has less expensive options, starting at $59.99.
This fitness tracker is a bit different than the first two, in that its focus is different. While it still has the ability to be a basic activity tracker – tracking distance, heart rate and calories burnt – it has a few other features that are geared mainly toward runners. This watch also tracks the wearer’s pace, and sends them a friendly alert when they’ve completed each mile. The big draw with this gadget is its GPS functionality. It has the ability to track your run on a map that you can see on Garmin’s online community, Garmin Connect. This is a specialized feature, but if you’re a runner who likes to see your route and your progress, this may be the tracker for you! It’s also waterproof to a depth of 50 meters, so it’s definitely fine to wear in the shower and to go swimming. It comes in at $179.99.
The Moov Now activity tracker stood out from the rest in a really cool way. While it did the basic activity and sleep tracking that the others did, its main feature was very unique. It takes personal training to a whole new level with the ability to verbally coach you through exercises like running, cycling, boxing and high-intensity interval training while giving you precise data and feedback. It even tracks your movements in 3D, so it can give you advice about your form. Very cool. In the Moov app, there are more than 200 levels of exercises, so you can personalize your workout based on whether you’re a beginner or an advanced athlete. The only thing it doesn’t have is a heart monitor, which is a bit of a let-down, but it at least supports third-party monitors. It’s also waterproof, so you can wear it in the shower and for swimming. The Moov Now is set to be released in Fall 2015, and the preorder pricing on the website is only $59.99 US, which will eventually go up to $100.
This is the first gadget on the list that isn’t a daily activity tracker at all – in fact, I’ve never heard of anything quite like it. After moistening your skin, you press the Skulpt Aim against a particular muscle group, such as your abs, biceps, calves, or glutes, and the smartphone-sized device determines that muscle’s quality in terms of strength and definition and what percentage of fat the area is. It can accurately measure 12 different muscles and can give you a picture of your overall body-fat percentage. And with the accompanying Skulpt app, you can track your progress and tell, over time, how your muscles are improving or see how dietary changes affect your body-fat percentage. Huh. It was founded in in 2009 by a neurology professor at Harvard Medical School and an electrical engineering graduate from MIT, so it sounds trustworthy enough! It comes in at around $200.
The Withings Smart Body Analyzer may look like a regular bathroom scale, but it is much more than that. While it still gives you high-accuracy weight measurements, it also gives readings of your body fat measurements as well as your Body Mass Index. It’s hooked up to the free Health Mate app, which breaks down your goals into weekly targets and gives you tips and reminders. Whenever you use it, your data is automatically graphed in your app. The Smart Body Analyzer also takes your pulse every time you weigh yourself, and checks your bedroom indoor air quality through temperature and carbon dioxide measuring. The scale also provides a daily localized weather report, and can remember the stats of up to 8 people. The scale automatically recognizes who's who. This super-scale is priced at $199.
There you go – about a billion options if you’re already a fitness buff or if you’re looking to get into shape in the near future. I hope this list helped you find a gadget that will motivate you to kickstart your routine into high gear and get moving!
Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor
Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.